The Toronto Maple Leafs currently hold the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, which takes place on June 27 and 28. There has been lots of rumors surrounding the Leafs and the possibility of moving. Most of them include Dion Phaneuf and Nazem Kadri going to Florida for the first overall pick in a bigger deal. There are others that suggest that the Leafs could move up to the third or fourth selections, switching with the Edmonton Oilers or Calgary Flames respectively.
Why are the Leafs doing this? Well, for one, the Leafs need to do something big and moving up into the top five of the draft would certainly accomplish that. However, if you look at the history of the eighth overall pick, you might understand why there might be some hesitation.
Here is the list of players taken eighth overall since 1980.
1980- Fred Arthur, Defense, Hartford Whalers
1981- Grant Fuhr, Goalie, Edmonton Oilers
1983- Andrew McBain, Right Wing, Winnipeg Jets
1984- Shayne Corson, Left Wing, Montreal Canadiens
1985- Brent Fedyk, Right Wing, Detroit Red Wings
1986- Pat Elynuik, Right Wing, Winnipeg Jets
1987- Jimmy Waite, Goalie, Chicago Blackhawks
1988- Jeremy Roenick, Center, Chicago Blackhawks
1989- Jason Herter, Defense, Vancouver Canucks
1990- Derian Hatcher, Defense, Minnesota North Stars
1991- Richard Matvichuk, Defense, Minnesota North Stars
1992- Brandon Convery, Center, Toronto Maple Leafs
1993- Niklas Sundstrom, Right Wing, New York Rangers
1994- Jason Wiemer, Center, Tampa Bay Lightning
1995- Terry Ryan, Left Wing, Montreal Canadiens
1996- Jonathan Aitken, Defense, Boston Bruins
1997- Sergei Samsonov, Left Wing, Boston Bruins
1998- Mark Bell, Center, Chicago Blackhawks
1999- Taylor Pyatt, Left Wing, New York Islanders
2000- Nikita Alexeev, Left/Right Wing, Tampa Bay Lightning
2001- Pascal Leclaire, Goalie, Columbus Blue Jackets
2002- Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Center, Minnesota Wild
2003- Braydon Coburn, Defense, Philadelphia Flyers
2004- Alexandre Picard, Left Wing, Columbus Blue Jackets
2005- Devin Setoguchi, Right Wing, San Jose Sharks
2006- Peter Mueller, Center, Phoenix Coyotes
2007- Zach Hamill, Center, Boston Bruins
2008- Mikkel Boedker, Left Wing, Phoenix Coyotes
2009- Scott Glennie, Center, Dallas Stars
2010- Alex Burmistrov, Center, Atlanta Thrashers
2011- Sean Couturier, Center, Philadelphia Flyers
2012- Derrick Pouliot, Defense, Pittsburgh Penguins
2013- Rasmus Ristolainen, Defense, Buffalo Sabres
As you can see, the success rate is pretty mixed. For every Jeremy Roenick, there’s a Jason Wiemer. For every Grant Fuhr, there’s a Pascal Leclaire.
While it’s harder to predict the more recent players to get picked eighth, the Leafs might not want to take their chances with that pick. After, all last time they had a pick around this area, they picked Nazem Kadri seventh and that hasn’t exactly gone as planned now has it.
The Leafs should look into any ways they can move up into the top five of the draft. Those players have a rather low failure rate and that’s what the Leafs right now. Someone who is going to make a difference, possibly as soon as next season.